|A Few Well-Circulated Years Later|
by Colin Rea
About five years ago, as a bookseller, I wrote an open letter to publishers. I did this because Jamie said that PNBA would give me $50 and that I could write about anything I wanted. Shortly after writing the piece, I took a job with a library, where I still work today. I thought the time might be right to go back and revisit this letter and make some adjustments, additions, and subtractions from an updated perspective. This time, I wasn't even promised any money!
Hi. I work in a
bookstore library. Have you ever worked in a bookstore libary? Sometimes, I really doubt that you have. Here are a few things you need to know.
There is no "next
DaVinci Code Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". There never will be. Please stop putting this in your catalogs and on your books. Ditto Harry Potter Hunger Games.
Booksellers Librarians hate love shrink wrap-- Especially booksellers except librarians who chew their nails. Any book you feel the need to shrink wrap usually retails in the neighborhood of $40-$100, and that thin bit of plastic ensures that the book looks brand-spankin' new before we cover the book with our own plastic. Please, NOBODY buys a book that expensive without getting to see the good bits inside. And if the good bits happen to be naughty bits, the only way that book won't be returned as severely shelf worn is if you reinforce the binding with bolts, and go with sheet metal instead of cloth.Beautiful, large, full-color books really take a beating when they are repeatedly checked-out, dropped in a return bin, and re-shelved.
Speaking of packaging, stop already with the "creative bindings."
Just because there is no writing on the spine (or on the dreaded plastic coil thingy we all thought was cool when we were in, say, 2nd grade...) doesn't mean we're going to face out your book. Really, we won't, on general principal. Putting a protective sleeve of plastic on a dust cover that only goes halfway up the book is hard enough, but when you give it multiple layers, folds, and other origami-like dimensions, we are positively stumped (I'm talking to you McSweeney's... cough... Michael Chabon's Maps and Legends... cough...) And those plastic coil thingies?Those break before the first patron touches the book and make it IMPOSSIBLE for us to place a spine label.
Please, for the love of all that is holy, sacred, named Mike, or otherwise, NO MORE MOVIE COVERS. With the possible exception of To Kill a Mockingbird, the book is ALWAYS better than the film. You have the premium product! Keep it that way. More often than not, those coming into our
stores libraries--even while the movie is still in the theaters--prefer the original cover. It's true. Just ask anyone...
And while we're on covers, please check out what your competitors are doing before you select that 'perfect' stock photo. When books like these release a year or so apart, we notice:
Likewise, those of us who have been around books for most of our lives KNOW you check out your competitors because we understand EXACTLY what you are doing when a new book from a thriller writer comes out with this cover:
Just because we've never actually READ a Nicholas Sparks book doesn't mean we don't know one when we see it!
None of us are fooled by the phrase "paperback original." We all read that as, "See, we paid this author a pretty good amount of money in the form of an advance, and the book wasn't very good, so we knew we'd never recoup that cash by throwing more of it into a hard cover edition. We're hoping that enough people pick this book up on their way to the departure gate to at least get ourselves out of the red."
I see I'm at the end of my allotted word count. In a few months,
perhaps I'll continue this letter I might even get around to writing about author pictures, including but not limited to the cars, dogs, and leather jackets that they inevitably contain. In the meantime, please go to a bookstore library, shadow a few customers patrons or employees (not too closely, that's called stalking), read a bit, and then buy check out a book. Hell, buy check out two.
Colin Rea, formerly the buyer at the University of Oregon Duck Store, is now Director of the Fern Ridge Public Library, just west of Eugene. He is the coordinator for PNBA's Michael Pritiken Rural Library Project, and he recently irked Garth Stein.
|Show Shaping Up|
Attendee Registration Coming Soon!
Selection Committee votes are in and Thom is furiously slotting authors--including Chuck Palahniuk, Cheri Priest, David Guterson, Thor Hanson, Cheryl Strayed and Naomi Benaron--into events over the three-day stretch, Oct. 13, 14, 15, in Portland. Complete preliminary lineups should hit the show page the first week of August.
|Kids Book Drive Under Way
|Books for Kids at Inklings|
Washington Stores Support Page Ahead
Thanks for setting this up. We are already having books bought and donated!
--Susan Richmond, Inklings Bookshop, 7/14
The Books for Kids drive officially kicks off on Saturday, the 16th, but the good will is already flowing. Read more
about the program at Northwest Book Lovers, the official event sponsor!
|NWBL Noteworthies |
Some Recent Faves
Tweeting and re-Tweeting for Liberty!
Paulina Springs bookseller Amanda MacNaughton's interview with a very playful
and full-of-life Borg.
Two bad marriages, 46 rejections, sixteen re-writes and one new writing studio for Paula Coomer.
A new place for all things Alexie.
A little store, lots of tiny things, one big experience.
Dirt and supper at the bookstore.
All in one place, and just a tiny taste. You're not missing out, are you? If there is anything or anyone you'd like to see featured on Northwest Book Lovers, including your store, let us know. Your ideas and your help fuel this thing!
|NWBL on Facebook|
It's Nice to be Liked
It's now easier than ever to keep up on all of the great posts at Northwest Book Lovers. Join us on Facebook to receive daily alerts on the independent NW's literary news. Join us on Facebook today!
|Fall Bookseller School|
Next Paz Session in September
Many cities around the country have lost their only bookstores with the closing of hundreds of Borders locations and smaller mall bookstores. With markets wide open, there are more business opportunities this year than in the past three decades.
Retail bookselling is a unique business that demands attention to many different aspects of the start-up process and ongoing operations. Long-term sustainability requires that owners capitalize on a bricks-and-mortar store's competitive advantages, understand how the industry works, and be able to add their own entrepreneurial energy and creativity. As is the case with any new career, training is a critical part of preparation.
The workshop retreat Opening a Bookstore: The Business Essentials will take place Sept. 12-16, on Amelia Island (near Jacksonville, FL). The week's topics will include strategies for making a profit in retail bookselling, practices for driving sales, creating a magical sense of place with store design and merchandising, buying and managing inventory, and much more.
Co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the workshop is offered in spring and fall each year and is facilitated by Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman of The Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates. ABA members are eligible for up to a $200 discount on tuition. For details, visit the Paz website.
--from the Paz & Associates Reaching Prospective Booksellers press release
|"Before you summit Yosemite's Half Dome, be sure that you're wearing the right gear. In this case, a T-shirt promoting a PNBA bookstore." -Algonquin's Craig Popelars|
Brown Staffer Funny
Seeking to overturn California's new law requiring it and other online retailers with operations or affiliates in the state to collect sales tax, Amazon has filed for a referendum and needs to collect signatures from 504,760 registered voters.
A spokesman from the Gov's office, Evan Westrup told The New York Times, "Amazon should be spending less time punishing its affiliates, threatening lawsuits and collecting signatures and more time doing what every other retailer does in California every day." He then added, "Where does Amazon plan to collect these signatures--in front of bricks and mortar retailers that collect sales tax everyday?"
Thanks, Shelf A, for sharing this political stand-up routine.
Sasquatch to Join RH Stable
Effective Jan. 1, 2012, Seattle publisher Sasquatch Books
will begin a sales and distribution arrangement with Random House Publisher Services. Finan Dandy
ABFFE president Chris Finan was awarded the 2011 Freedom to Read Foundation "Roll of Honor Award" at the American Library Association's national conference in New Orleans on June 25.
FTRF honored Finan for his "distinguished career in both study and activism on behalf of the freedom to read." More
at Bookselling This Week
Wathen Freely Expresses
And he'll stand up for your right to do the same. The co-owner of Hamilton, MT's Chapter One Bookstore joined the ABFFE Board of Directors
in June. Thank you, Shawn!AK Booksellers and Librarians Celebrate Free Speech Victory
Free speech fighters are applauding a U.S District Court judge's decision to block a section of the Alaska Statutes that would have made anyone who operates a website criminally liable for posting, selling, or loaning material deemed "harmful to minors." Read which PNBA members were behind the fight
at NWBL.NABP Changes
Northwest Association of Book Publishers has a new website
and a new logo. Anyone visiting the NWABP.org address will be redirected to the new site, nabponline.org, where a variety of logo layouts for promotional use will soon be available in the Members Area.
There may still be slots available for ABA's educational offering on August 10 in Chicago. A quick flight to O'Hare, and you're there! Details
Now On NWBL
PNBA classified advertisement listings will from now on be featured on the NW Book Lovers blog. NWBL greatly broadens the options and the audience for NW book-related postings. Current PNBA members are eligible for free classifieds. Contact Jamie for guidelines and scheduling.
July 28 NABP Meeting, Lake Oswego
Oct 6-9 Wordstock festival, Portland
Oct 13-15 PNBA Tradeshow, Portland
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